Thursday, 13 February 2014

HERE COMES THE DEVIL - Review By Greg Klymkiw - Creepy Mexican Horror Shocker the whole family will love.

Here Comes the Devil (2013) ***1/2
Dir. Adrián García Bogliano
Starring: Francisco Barreiro, Laura Caro, Alan Martinez, Michele Garcia

Review By Greg Klymkiw

All those who object to gratuitous lesbo action during the first five minutes of a horror movie, please raise your hands. Nobody? Good. As a respected Canadian film producer born in Eastern Europe (whom I shall allow to remain nameless) once said to an incredulous young indie filmmaker, "The man - he likes to see the woman with the woman, and the woman - she likes to see the woman with the woman, too."

Now, all those who object to some utterly wicked (and gratuitous) bloodshed following said lesbo action in the aforementioned horror movie, please raise your hands. Nobody? Even better. You're now ready to see Adrián García Bogliano's super-creepy Mexican shocker Here Comes the Devil.

Après the aforementioned gratuitous lesbo action and bloodshed (gorgeously photographed, I might add), you're sitting in the cinema wondering - okay, are the filmmakers ever going to be able to top this one? Well, yes and no, but good goddamn they've sure grabbed you by the short and curlies and now you can't get your eyes off the screen even if you tried. (Though, I suppose you could poke your eyes out, but that would kinda be stupid, eh?)

Where the film takes us from here is mega-Creepville, for director Bogliano slows down the pace in all the right ways and before we know it, we're plunged into the lives of a family driving through the hills near Tijuana. Mom and Dad (Francisco Barreiro, Laura Caro) pull over to a roadside stop and agree to let their kids (Alan Martinez, Michele Garcia) explore the nearby caves. This allows the happy couple an opportunity to get in a little backseat bouncing like in their youth and the kiddies get to experience both nature and the local colour. (Thankfully, the family is not passing through Ensenada - the wildlife in some of the more dubious nightspots involves donkeys. 'Nuff said.)

It might have been handy, however, had everyone known about the local legends surrounding the caves. Mom and Dad end up falling into a comfy post-coital snooze while their kids fall into some mighty mysterious goings-on. Thankfully, after some harrowing worries regarding the disappearance of their children, the kids reappear - safe and sound.

Or so everyone thinks.

What follows is utterly horrendous - in more ways than one, and if things don't quite plunge into gratuitous territory, we're not at all disappointed because the movie is genuinely compelling and scary in ways reminiscent of the very best horror films that employ atmosphere and psychological terror. This is not, however, to say that things don't spiral into total sickness. They do. There's no need to spoil this for anyone, save to say that we're served up a number of tasty morsels guaranteed to invoke both gooseflesh and possibly even regurgitation. A check-list of sickness includes some barf-inspirational boffins, some superbly sickening blood letting and a very nice shower scene. 'Nuff said.

(Years ago when I ran my own art cinema in the 'Peg, I used to hand out air sickness bags for certain movies and encourage patrons to vomit. Alas, far too many of them didn't use the air sickness bags and this poor kid who worked for me, one very hard-working, sweet-faced Paulo Rodriguez, was sadly forced to clean up the spillage. Still, it was a great promotion which I tied-in to a heavy metal radio station. I urge Colin Geddes at the Royal Theatre where Here Comes the Devil opens theatrically in Toronto to consider a similar stunt. I can give him Paulo's phone number, or he can just hire my cousin Peter's fine cleaning company Bee-Clean to do the job.)

It's great to see a movie like this is playing theatrically. Far too many terrific genre films these days go straight to home entertainment formats and while this is fine for second helpings, collectors and lazy assholes who don't want to leave home, the rest of us prefer our shocks on the big screen. Here Comes the Devil, though not quite in the same classic territory of the great Val Lewton RKO thrillers, takes a similar cue and keeps us rooted in the more human elements of the story - here, it's family dynamics. Where it deviates, of course, is that we get to have our cake and it too - lots of creepy atmospheric chills, garnished with a few delightful dollops of sex and violence.

An unbeatable combination, to be sure, but it helps that Bogliano helms the proceedings with a sure hand and elicits a clutch of fine performances - especially from the gorgeous Laura Caro as the decidedly concerned (and mouth-wateringly sexy) Mom.


"Here Comes the Devil" is a Magnet picture distributed in Canada via the visionary VSC and making its theatrical debut at the wonderful Royal Theatre in Toronto's Little Italy. Hopefully Johnny Lombardi's ghost will be present.